Editor Fired For Violating Prison Policy p.15

By: Editor & Publisher HE CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT of Corrections has cracked down on the first alleged violator of its new rule banning face-to-face media interviews with inmates.
The culprit is none other than the editor of a prison newspaper who, according to authorities, tried to tip off a journalist on how to get around the regulation.
Boston Woodward was dismissed as editor of the Communicator, the newspaper at the California Men's Colony in San Luis Obispo, for "violation of a position of trust," said corrections department spokeswoman Christine May.
Woodward, May added, previously had criticized the new policy in the paper, but was not disciplined for that.
"He has every right to write and criticize the rule, but not to contact outside persons about breaking it," May said.
She said Woodward wrote to a reporter, suggesting he could skirt the regulation by applying to cover a prison arts program.
The editor then would arrange for him to interview a "specific inmate," May said. "It was just a ruse to get him into the institution."
Early this year, the corrections department clamped a lid on interviews with individual felons, fearing that the practice tends to glamorize prisoners, particularly high-profile ones like Charles Manson (E&P, Jan. 13).
The press is still permitted in prisons to investigate conditions and may generally interview inmates in connection with the story.
A reporter also may visit a prisoner on his or her invitation, but cannot bring a camera, tape recorder, notebook, pen or pencil to the meeting.
Completely forbidden are arranged interviews with inmates, although the latter can write or telephone the media with complaints. Phone calls are monitored.
The regulation applies to all 135,000 inmates in California's 31 prisons.
Terri Knight, the media liaison officer at the Men's Colony, said Woodward also was confined to quarters for five days because of the infraction. Woodward has spent 15 years at the facility on drug and weapons convictions. Knight said he previously edited a newspaper at another prison.
An E&P request to interview Woodward was refused.


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